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7 Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Psychologist for Addiction



February 28, 2024

7 Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Psychologist for Addiction

Recognizing the need for help and support in the fight against addiction is a bold step, and finding the right psychologist for addiction is essential on the recovery journey. Addiction recovery is a difficult journey that requires constant help and support from a professional. However, finding the right psychologist for the individual can be overwhelming. This blog will explore things to consider before getting a psychologist. 

Why seek a psychologist for addiction?

Seeking help from a psychologist can be a change in the right direction. They offer treatments that can help addicts recover. Psychologists are trained mental health professionals who have in-depth knowledge of addiction and can provide diagnosis and assessment with a personalized treatment plan. Individuals are offered preventive measures and ongoing support to ensure long-term recovery. Addicts carry a lot of emotional baggage; psychologists explore the underlying emotions and triggers to address them. They can be the guiding light and a companion on one’s path to healing and recovery. 

Key factors to consider 

Finding a psychologist to support an addict’s recovery journey is an important decision. The right psychologist for addiction can be a powerful ally, while the wrong one can hinder progress. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making a selection.

  1. Expertise in addiction

A psychologist who specializes in handling individuals with addiction problems. They should have in-depth knowledge, skills, and training to help individuals overcome addiction. Check for their certification and training specific to the individual’s addiction type; it’ll ensure that the psychologist understands the unique challenges faced and tailors their approach accordingly. 


“Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor” (CADC) or “Certified Addiction Specialist” (CAS) are two certifications that stand out for a psychologist who helps addicted individuals. 

  1. Treatment approach

Different psychologists use different treatment approaches, and finding one that aligns with the individual’s needs and preferences is crucial for the success of treatment. Ask about the psychologist’s treatment approach, as many modalities exist, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and contingency management. 

Try to understand the psychologist’s theoretical framework, and ask about specific techniques used to treat addiction. Inquire what sorts of therapies they prefer, like individual, group, or family therapy. Make sure their approach aligns with the individual’s beliefs and values, and that they are comfortable with the proposed plan. 

  1. Credentials and licensing

A psychologist goes through intensive training and education to acquire licensing, which verifies their professional qualifications. Consider a psychologist with a board certification in addiction treatment. A verified psychologist with a license adheres to strict ethical and professional standards, which, if violated, can have serious consequences.


Additionally, knowing that the psychologist holds the appropriate credentials and licenses builds an individual’s trust and confidence in their treatment process. Credentials also show the psychologist’s commitment to these values. 

  1. Comfort and communication

Addiction recovery is a personal journey that often involves sharing vulnerable and sensitive information, so finding a psychologist who fosters comfort and open communication can greatly impact the recovery journey. Factors like personality, communication style, and bedside manner significantly impact the therapy experience. During the consultation, assess the psychologist’s active listening skills, their ability to create a safe and judgment-free space, and their openness to feedback. 

Schedule a first meeting with several psychologists to evaluate your comfort level, and convey your needs and concerns openly. Ensure that you feel heard and respected. 

  1. Accessibility and availability 

These are two essential factors to consider alongside other key factors. Choose a psychologist that’s easier to travel to, like frequent public transport or abundant car service. Check if they offer virtual sessions if travel is a barrier for the individual. Assess how long it takes to get an appointment and schedule a regular session because a long wait time might not be ideal if the individual is seeking immediate support. Evaluate the psychologist’s appointment session, if it’s sufficient for effective treatment, and if the number of sessions recommended for the individual accommodates their needs. 

Many psychologists offer brief consultations to discuss the addicted individual’s needs and check if they are a good fit. By considering both accessibility and availability, the chances of finding a good psychologist increase. 

  1. Reviews and recommendations

Online reviews and recommendations can be a valuable resource when looking for a psychologist for addiction treatment but don’t make them the sole factor. To overcome the limitations of reviews and recommendations, check various sources, like directories, professional websites, and support groups. Thoroughly evaluate the comments about the psychologist, their treatment approach, communication style, and overall effectiveness. 

Read reviews critically, and always keep in mind the individual’s circumstances and potential biases. Rather than using it as a sole deciding factor, consider it a starting point. 

  1. Insurance and fees

Finance becomes a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a psychologist. Verify that the psychologist accepts any insurance or the payment method used by the individual. Consider if the cost aligns with the budget and whether any financial assistance is available. Discuss fees or any additional costs upfront. Check for any out-of-pocket expenses that will be incurred by the individual and the extent of insurance coverage for addiction treatment. 

Finance should never become a barrier to the treatment process. It’s better to know all about fees and costs before choosing a psychologist to avoid discontinuation of the treatment because of financial troubles. 

Key takeaway!

Finding the right psychologist for addiction is a crucial step in an individual’s treatment journey. Careful consideration of the seven factors discussed throughout this blog can lead to the psychologist best suited for the individual’s recovery. Utilize online resources with the utmost caution, and prioritize qualifications and experience over solely relying on reviews. Schedule trial consultations to find a psychologist with whom an addict feels comfortable, heard, and supported. The right professional can become an invaluable partner on the journey to recovery.

Related post: Healing In secure Attachment and Relational Trauma through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)